After winning back-to-back NBA championship titles, Kevin Durant decided to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Golden State Warriors to become an unrestricted free agent. However, it didn’t take long before the two-time Finals MVP made a free agency decision. As expected, Durant inked a new deal with the Warriors.
Despite declining his player option, most people already predicted Kevin Durant to re-sign with Golden State. However, in an appearance on The Lowe Post podcast (h/t Uproxx), Rachel Nichols of ESPN revealed that there were some people within the Warriors organization who thought Durant would leave the Warriors this offseason.
“I had literally three or four people from the Warriors organization call, text or physically come to me and say, ‘Thank you for getting him to say that on camera. We weren’t sure.'”
At some point, it was not a surprise why some Warriors insiders weren’t sure if Kevin Durant would be returning to Golden State for another season or not. Before the 2018 NBA free agency started, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN started the rumors that LeBron James texted Durant about joining the Los Angeles Lakers. During those times, the Lakers had the capability to create enough salary cap space to give James and Durant maximum contracts.
I'm being told LeBron James texted Kevin Durant about coming to LA. pic.twitter.com/jJyeOOSgxN
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) June 28, 2018
However, the first week of the 2018 NBA free agency concluded with James signing with the Lakers and Durant returning to the Warriors. Most people, especially those who are not a fan of the Warriors, will surely love the idea of Durant’s departure in Golden State. Losing Durant will not take away the Warriors’ status as a legitimate title contender since they still have the core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson.
But, it will make the Warriors a vulnerable team unlike in the last two seasons where they were considered unbeatable. Aside from re-signing Kevin Durant, the Warriors just got stronger with the acquisition of All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins in free agency. Though Cousins is expected to miss the most of the 2018-19 regular season due to injury, the Warriors could enter the Western Conference Playoffs 2019 with a starting lineup featuring five All-Stars.
Recently, in a podcast, Durant engaged in a word war with Portland Trail Blazers superstar C.J. McCollum, who said that “he was hot” about Cousins signing with the Warriors. KD responded by telling McCollum that the Trail Blazers are not going to win an NBA championship title. Their feud continued on Twitter where McCollum called Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the 73-win Warriors “soft.” After Durant replied, McCollum tried to ease the situation and said that there is no ongoing dispute between him and KD.